MILFORD — During public input at the Thursday, Dec. 12, meeting of Milford Town Council, resident Susan Wert asked the council for relief from a bill of $160, three times larger than her average bill, adding, “others have heard of problems with water meters.”
In fact, Utilities Superintendent Steven Marquart has mentioned his department’s problems getting warranty work on meters completed by Master Meter — the company from which the town purchased registers six years ago — at past meetings. Some of the retrofitted meters’ batteries, he said, are going dead at the six-year point.
Marquart was unable to read Wert’s meter’s data log due to a dead battery; however, after replacing the register, the town will monitor the following month to determine if the increased usage resulted from the home or the meter. In the meantime, the council passed a motion approving Wert to be charged the average amount of the six months prior to November.
Brian Ropes of Midwest Meter, distributor of Badger Metering, the brand of register bases the town retrofitted with Master Meter registers six years ago, was also on hand to pitch the council a fix for its meter problems. Ropes commented he warned the council at that time there could be connectivity problems using a Badger base and Master Meter register.
Ropes presented the council with a price guide for various fixes, including switching to cellular registers capable of sending data logs from the meter to a central location every 15 minutes, eliminating the need for house-to-house meter reading entirely. He claimed South Bend currently has 40,000 homes on Badger cellular meters without “a fraction” of the problems Milford is experiencing. There are roughly 600 meters in Milford, which Marquart hopes to begin slowly upgrading.
Twenty-four replacement meters from Badger would cost the town roughly $13,100, including software installation, Ruch estimated. The council passed a motion to obtain more information before its public end-of-year meeting at 4:30 p.m., Dec. 30.
The following items were also addressed by Milford Town Council:
• According to Jay Rigdon, town attorney, the town’s ordinance states no person shall possess a firearm on town property. He added he did not recall any council ever permitting a town employee other than police officers to possess firearms on town property.
There is a regulated shooting range for police use on the grounds of the wastewater plant, noted council member Kenneth Long. “We need to do something to specify the range is for our police department,” he said. He added, however, a procedure should be worked out for volunteer firefighters, after Steve Farber, a firefighter, mentioned some firefighters with permits to carry may show up at the station when on call.
• During fire reports, Farber announced Milford Fire Department officers for 2020: Todd Haines, chief; Steve Farber, first assistant chief; Virgil Sharp, second assistant chief; Dan Duncan, secretary; Brian Haines and Kevin Walker, training officers; Cameron Tusing, treasurer.
• The council will review a resolution stating all dispatch calls go first to Parkview Samaritan Medical Transport then Lutheran, due to the latter being considerably more expensive, according to Van Buren Township Trustee Rebecca Alles. The resolution will be reviewed by township, town and fire department at the end-of-year meeting.
• A motion passed allowing a letter of support for Chore-Time Brock’s plan to revise underground electrical feeds to the power plant so as not to interfere with proposed CR 1300N roadwork.
• During police reports, $8,503.77 was approved for the purchase of three Motorola 800 mhz mobile radios, following repeated problems reaching dispatch. Chief Derek Kreider reported having to use the phone when current radios did not work.
• Milford will take part in Alliance of Indiana Rural Water’s apprentice program. A current town employee is interested in the position, according to Milford Town Clerk Tricia Gall. The position starts June 1 with Alliance paying expenses, including training, salary and laptop totalling roughly $90,000 during two years.
• $2,450 was approved for Beer and Slabaugh’s repair of a water main break at West and Fifth Streets Nov. 11.
• Gall reported acceptance of Milford’s 2020 budget except for a $19,669 cut from its motor vehicle highway fund, which will be transferred from local roads and streets.
• An executive session will be held at 1 p.m. Monday, Dec. 30, followed by a end of year public meeting at 4:30 p.m. The clerk’s office will be closed Dec. 24-25, 31 and Jan. 1.